Creatures – Hai

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Album Review by Mark Bayross

After bringing their reunion Seven Year Itch tour to a close in Japan last year, Siouxsie Sioux and Budgie, Goth’s enduring couple, stayed on, inspired by the richness of the country’s ancient yet beautiful culture, and emerged with this, their fourth studio album as The Creatures.

The Japanese influence runs like blood throughout this record, from the album title (Japanese for ‘Yes!’) to the themes of Eastern mysticism (IMAGORO), remote tranquillity versus modernism (CITY ISLAND) and baffling pop culture (the fantastic GODZILLA).

But the most striking element of this Anglo-Japanese fusion is the thumping Taiko drumming of collaborator Leonard Eto, a colossal rhythmic tour de force that runs from the furious opening triumvirate of SAY YES!, AROUND THE WORLD and SEVEN TEARS, to later, more sedate tracks where it ebbs and flows, occasionally erupting again like a volcano.

Siouxsie’s voice is as powerful as ever – drawling, yelping, wailing like a woman possessed, but never over the top, always matched to the mood of the enveloping, tribal music around her. The overall effect is a stripped down, almost shamanic chant of startling originality.

The only snag is that the nine-minute TOURNIQUET marks a shift halfway through the album that takes the sound from rolling thunder to a more sedate, almost operatic pace, and this does make the album a more challenging listen…but still very much a recommended listen.

4 stars